“A work of art with exaggerated lines, inspired by the videogame universe”

Snapshot

  • Renault debuts electric drift car concept
  • 280kW, huge wing, 50º steering angle
  • A testbed for Renault’s electric, digital future

Renault is celebrating 50 years of the 5 model this year using the 5 Diamant concept car to show off its electric future, and now this drift-inspired Renault 5 Turbo 3E.

The wild Renault 5 Turbo 3E carries on the lineage of the iconic, mid-engined Renault 5 Turbo and Turbo 2 (1980-1986).

Renault’s Turbo 3E concept takes inspiration from those fierce mid-engined vehicles in rally trim with huge boxed flares, turbo-fan wheels, enormous rear wing and wide stance.

Unlike the originals, the Turbo 3E uses a pair of rear-mounted electric motors producing 280kW/700Nm – more than twice the ICE-powered Turbos.

So far we’ve just seen images, but Renault will show its new carbon-bodied plaything off to the public at Chantilly Arts and Elegance contest on September 25, followed by the Paris Motor Show starting October 17.

Despite Renault’s push for Alpine to become the new performance arm (rather than Renault Sport), this motorsports-inspired concept wears the Renault diamond for now.

What does the concept tell us about ‘new Renault’?

It’s certainly a pivot for Renault, the French brand known as a front-wheel-drive brand with little drift history – although that never stopped tarmac superstar Jean Ragnotti having a crack with the handbrake.

Under the skin, the R5 Turbo 3E rocks a tubular spaceframe chassis, FIA-approved roll cage and twin rear-mounted motors. It won’t have much to do with a future production car.

Instead this concept car is likely a showpiece for Renault’s next generation of styling and motor design. The rear-mounted power unit makes ‘only’ 280kW of power, but with 700Nm of instantly-accessible torque the claimed 0-100km/h sprint is a brisk 3.5 seconds.

The 42kWh battery is smallish, but – as Renault puts it – plenty for ‘several laps of a raging Gymkhana’ and a 200km/h top speed.

Naturally, there’s a prominent handbrake lever in the bare cabin for drivers to initiate drifts with ease, while a 50º steering angle means the Turbo 3E will be able to get into all sorts of lurid slides.

The Renault 5 Turbo 3E is compact in length, measuring only 4000mm. And, at a whopping 2020mm wide (250mm wider than a Turbo 2), this little car will have an imposing stance. Those rear vents are real too, providing cooling for the electric motors.

Charging the Turbo 3E concept from 0-100 per cent will take two hours using a three-phase 22kW AC charger at 380V/32A.

A digital testbed for Renault

Outside are ‘neon-chic’ LED lighting strips in blue, pink and yellow that respond to the car drifting. The foglight design is an homage to the original Turbo 2, but each has 14 LEDs now rather than a single bulb.

Chief designer for Renault concept cars, Sandeep Bhambra, said the Turbo 3E is “a work of art with exaggerated lines, inspired by the videogame universe, with hints at the Renault 5 and Renault 5 Turbo inside as much as out.”

The Turbo 3E will emerge as an NFT alongside the physical reveal of the car and takes influence from video games in its drive mode selection. ‘Turbo’ (drift mode), ‘Donut’, ‘Track Invader’ are the three, and starting the Turbo 3E is done by pressing a ‘Free Play’ button.

There are also 10 in-built action camera mounts in, the idea being you can capture your drifts in all their glory and upload straight to your social media.

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